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Save Your Energy

Local company offers solutions

Molokai faces the highest electricity rates in the state, if not the country, and many residents are at a loss for how to cut down on their bill. While the state tries for big-picture projects like wind farms, local companies are giving residents simple solutions.

 “Molokai is a lot more innovative than you’d think it’d be,” said Kalono Ferreira of Pono-Solutions.

Pono-Solutions, a subsidiary organization of the state rebate program Hawaii Energy, is now available on Molokai to help people get the most out of their energy systems by taking advantage of these rebates.

Energy education is available to those are interested in an education on how to be energy efficient. Pono-Solutions work with customers to make homes and businesses more energy efficient – from light bulbs, to air conditioners, to refrigerators and water heaters.

Pono-Solutions will also hook customers up with a local contractor to service their needs.

Dennis Turner, owner of Outpost Natural Foods store in Kaunakakai, wants to stop paying for energy all together.

“We have a goal to get off the grid,” Turner said.

He has built his own custom-lighting to cut down on costs and has advice for others who are interested in saving energy.

“People should keep the condensers clean on their refrigerators. That will allow air to circulate more effectively and not let heat build up,” he said.

Ferreira and his colleagues came from Oahu last week to help audit people’s lighting systems and give advice on how to be energy-efficient.

Lighting the Way

Ferreira said its great more people are using solar; however, before installing solar panels, other energy-suckers need to be changed first, such as incandescent light bulbs.

“Lighting is the first step. It’s cheap to replace and you get a return on your investment,” said Jason Aiana, a Pono-Solutions representative on Molokai. “There’s a huge difference on electric bills when people make their lighting systems more efficient.”

A simple change of a light bulb can decrease electricity bills dramatically. For example, a T12 florescent bulb may cost a little less, but uses anywhere from 40-90 kilowatts per hour. A T8 bulb uses only 25-32 watts per hour.

Residents can take advantage various rebates as well.  Solar water heaters can cost $1,500-2000, but  the annual savings  are around $500, according to Hawaiienergy.com. Rebates of $750 could be granted for this kind of system.

Energy-efficient appliances such as washing machines, ceiling fans and air conditioners also have rebates, up to about $110, and compact florescent light bulbs (CFLs) often have instant rebates in stores.

Aianai is confident that sustainability can’t be done alone.

“It’s a kakou thing!” he said, meaning, “We’re all in this together!”

To learn more on how to make your home more energy-efficient and save on energy bills, contact Jason Aiana at 479-9618 or visit www.pono-solutions.com.  For more information about energy use in Hawaii and to take advantage of rebates, visit www.hawaiienergy.com.

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